Formations Lesson for May 22- God-s Righteousness Brings Life
May 9 2011 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Romans 6:1-14

The world is changing. In 2011 we have witnessed massive struggles for government control in North Africa.

These struggles have been proclaimed by many in the media as the overthrow of tyrannical dictatorships in favor of democracy — a real people’s movement. If only it were so easy.

What we see on the world scene today could, however, serve as a metaphor for what happens within the heart of Christian believers. We are also engaged in a spiritual battle, and there are eternal consequences for the victor.

The apostle Paul was a well-traveled man. During his three missionary journeys he had done verbal combat with many adversaries: Judaizers, Gnostics, Stoics, Epicureans, and the Libertines.

To use today’s language, he had confronted the most extreme fundamentalists and the most raging liberals. Not only was he fighting anti-Christian forces outside the church, but he daily battled harmful forces within.

In the context of this passage, however, it seems clear that the spirit and doctrine of the Epicureans and Libertines had infiltrated the church, causing considerable confusion and damage. Simply put, the basic life goal of these groups was “pleasure.”

Perhaps you’ve heard the statement, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.” Liberalism resulting in licentiousness was a powerful force in Paul’s world, particularly within metropolitan cities such as Corinth and Rome.

The problem for the Christians, however, was that actions have consequences.

Yes, they were saved by grace, not works.

Yes, faith was more important than circumcision. But grace and faith in Christ also had its expectations. The Christian experience wasn’t a license to sin, and it certainly wasn’t permission to sin more (v. 1-2). In this passage Paul contrasts the old self with the new self, and death to resurrection. Let’s look at these contrasts. Paul says that in the Christian experience, the “old self is crucified.” Christians should consider themselves “dead to sin (v. 11).”

We are not what we were, and we are not to ever return to what we were. Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins. That sacrifice had eternal consequences, and we must always take the cross seriously.

As Christians, we now live in a new relationship to God. Jesus Christ has given the Christian “new life.” As Paul said in verse 4, we are to “walk” in a new way of life. Paul is talking “lifestyle” here; daily, growing, genuine and vital. When unbelievers watch us, they should see the “likeness” of Christ. Jesus arose from the grave with a “glorified” body. Our lives are to reflect His glory.

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5/9/2011 4:26:00 AM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 0 comments

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